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The fashion of phrases

You will now be aware, from our consideration of words, that language changes over time. There is nothing necessarily wrong with projecting an image of old-fashioned gravitas (much as I just did with the hyphen in that sentence, some might argue), but you do need to be aware that this is what you are doing. You also need to be as sure as you reasonably can be that you will not be irritating your readers. There are two particular types of phrase I want to ponder with you in this context: the use of singular/plural and the overuse of clichés.

Writers, because they want their writing to flow smoothly, are often tempted to avoid the minor awkwardness of the phrase ‘he ...

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